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Anyone else considering only sailing on smaller cruise ships when we can finally cruise again


wwinfl91
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Anyone else considering only sailing on smaller cruise ships when we can finally cruise again? My wife and I love to cruise (see my signature for proof) but will not be cruising again until Corvid19 Pandemic has been gotten under control with both a real vaccine and treatments that work. But in at least planning for possible future cruises we have decided we would feel safer on smaller ships like Seabourn. We have done 2 of them and loved both of them. But we have recently switched to doing Celebrity suite class because they offered locations we wanted to visit. In many ways with the separate suite dining room and  Michael's Club for free drinks and because Celebrity has made sure the waiters and suite attendants in suites are better trained we found it similar. But it still would mean sailing on ships with 3000 other people. Anyway I'm just interested if anyone else out here is thinking about mainly sailing on the smaller more elite cruise ships like Seabourn and giving up the bigger cruise ship lines for the immediate future. Thanks

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I have sailed on several larger ships in the past:  Princess, Royal Caribbean and NCL, but have sailed exclusively on Seabourn ships since 2017 and I would never go back to the larger ships, even with booking a more expensive category that provides more exclusivity regarding dining, service, etc.    For me, the atmosphere on SB is just much more conducive to a pleasurable cruise experience than is provided on the larger ships (think 1,500 or more (many more) passengers).   If I were to book a concierge-type class cabin, let's say on Royal Caribbean for example, once I left the areas exclusive to that category, I would feel just generally swamped by the huge numbers of passengers.   Long line-ups, waiting for service, feeling like part of a massive crowd, etc. would really negatively impact my enjoyment.   I also don't want to feel "captive" to those exclusive areas while on the ship either.

 

With SB, once I have paid my fare, I am free to enjoy every area of the ship at my whim and at no extra cost (with the obvious exceptions of the beauty salon & spa; and the unfortunate exception of The Retreat on Ovation & Encore which I find a useless annoyance).   I am almost never forced to queue for anything, I never feel like I am part of a massive crowd, and I can just relax and enjoy all aspects of the cruise at my leisure.

 

So for me, COVID or not, the huge ships are just a no-go. 

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We, too, would not do a large cruise ship again.  It’s been about 5 or 6 years since we did a large ship and that is the last time!  Much, much more prefer the size of Seabourn, Regent! Azamara, etc.

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On 10/26/2020 at 6:44 PM, wwinfl91 said:

Anyone else considering only sailing on smaller cruise ships when we can finally cruise again? 

 

Yes, a vote from us with 47 cruise history  where over 40 have been on larger ships!

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I've done six Seabourn cruises.  To me they are big ships because most of my cruising has been on 100-130 pax expedition ships so everything's relative. It's interesting to wonder how the expedition ships could manage social distancing but I guess it would be possible at 50 percent capacity (and 200 percent the fare).   A ship like Seabourn Quest with 200 pax would be very attractive for everyone except Seabourn.

 

Those properly big ships with 1000plus pax strike me as hell on Earth.   

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I haven't cruised on Seabourn but I have learned that <1000 passengers is my comfort zone in most cases.  I have sailed on HAL with friends and family on their <2300 passenger ships and had a great time but can't imagine anything larger even if friends wanted to.  I'll be checking out Seabourn once cruising starts up again.

 

~Nancy

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Seabourn Ovation is the largest I've sailed on, 604 passengers.

First cruise was on Silver Spirit which at the time held 540, it's since been  extended.


Ovation felt too big to me, the O class Seabourn ships (458?) are ideal for me,  so I would be reluctant to go bigger. 

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I understand your praise of Celebrity Suite Class, but we are unlikely to return to them because of the trend to loud music everywhere on X ships – and the lack of itineraries that appeal to us [a trend that will continue with places like Venice, Key West, etc. banning large ships].  Similarly, we really enjoyed the MSC Yacht Club - it isn't at all like @MaggyCan1 describes because your Butler escorts you everywhere and cuts in front of all lines [I realize some people are intimidated by getting this treatment, but anyone can buy a YC suite so it's just part of the value to me].

 

So we have moved to small ships because of the itineraries.  The only cruise lines I research now are Azamara [the largest of this group, but highly destination-immersion], Noble-Caledonia, Ponant [less so since their terrible FCC-only Covid cancellations], Seabourn and Windstar.  Happily, those lines also fit this idea that small ships may be safer post-Covid.  DW will miss the big production shows, but I am happier about the lecturers that small ships tend to have instead.

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I choose cruises by itinerary, not ship size. Most appealing to me at the moment is a 71 night cruise that circles Africa (clockwise, thankfully) aboard Holland America's 1432 passenger Zaandam. Yes, a smaller ship would be nice, a much higher price would not be.

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We prefer smaller ships period, but when it's more safe to travel that will be a consideration.  The only large ship that we would consider post-Covid is the Queen Mary 2 on an Atlantic crossing, but that is only when it is safe.

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Agree that smaller ships are going to be an especially smart idea post pandemic. However, we have never gone with Seabourn due to what we understand is the lack of any sort of track or area for my DW to take an exercise walk whenever she feels the need. My understanding that the ability to take an exercise walk on even the larger Seabourn ships on around pool deck is limited to certain early morning hours. Is that still the case?

 

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You could not pay me to cruise on a ship with over 909 guests.  My friend had a free cruise on a HAL ship as she is a big gambler.  She invited me to go.  I said No.  I have sailed these giant ships when I was younger and will never do them again.  Crystal is actually the largest cruiseline I will sail on.  Have only done Odyssey class and the original sisters and loved them with an edge to Odyssey Class.

 

I do think I would feel more comfortable cruising small ships post covid, if that ever happens.

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23 hours ago, edgee said:

Agree that smaller ships are going to be an especially smart idea post pandemic. However, we have never gone with Seabourn due to what we understand is the lack of any sort of track or area for my DW to take an exercise walk whenever she feels the need. My understanding that the ability to take an exercise walk on even the larger Seabourn ships on around pool deck is limited to certain early morning hours. Is that still the case?

 

Don't know where you got that rumor, but while there is no deck on any Seabourn ship that has a walking track that allows for a 360 degree walk, on deck 5 you can walk in a U that goes maybe 1/2 the length of the ship on either side.  On the deck where the Sky Bar is (9 or 10 depending on which ship class) you can walk in a rectangle.  Neither of those options are restricted to any time period.

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5 hours ago, markham said:

If you are wondering about where to walk why not look at the ships’ deck plans?

 

Happy and healthy sailing!

In answer to your question, the deck plan does not really answer the question. There is no designated/walking track on the deck plan.  In addition, I had heard that the areas referenced above allowed for some ability to walk, however my wife's brother sailed Seabourn a few years ago and told me that on his cruise those areas were only open for walking during certain hours and were sometimes congested with chairs and loungers. Knowing that my wife and I like to exercise walk, he recommended against us cruising with Seabourn. So, on this thread, I was looking for an updated answer to our question.

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The top deck does have lounge chairs.  It is relatively easy to walk around in the morning, before most people are out, but it is open all day.  We have been reading on the lounge chairs in the middle of the day, when people are doing laps.  Both activities can occur at the same time, but as people rearrange the chairs, it can become an obstacle course.  There is an outside deck on a lower deck, but it does not go all the way around the ship, so you have to do u-turns.  For me, I get my exercise on cruises either walking around the ports or destinations, or on the treadmill.  Other facets of Seabourn are much more important and appealing to me,  But,  I am not a walking junkie, so each person has to cater to his or her own priorities.

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In my experience the only time the U shaped walk described on deck 5 is closed is on those occasions when you are not docked and they are launching the tenders.  Once they are launched the area to walk is free and clear of obstacles with the minor exception of the aft area where there is a small hot tube and some lounges.  Usually not very crowded and easy to navigate around.

 

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39 minutes ago, CLOU said:

  But,  I am not a walking junkie, so each person has to cater to his or her own priorities.

I like your phrase..."walking junkie"... I certainly am.  I find that there is nothing to cruising so physical and emotionally rewarding as walking briskly where you can savor the salty sea air and reward yourself mentally with the infinity provided by the sea.  I have cruised with Seabourn prior to retreat limitations and, you are so right, Seabourn has provided excellent facets otherwise. 

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My husband and I use the deck 5 u-shaped track.  A bit of negotiating around the loungers and tables/chairs when you reach the pool area is needed but otherwise it is pretty good and there are often a few people enjoying a good walk or jog. On our most recent cruise on the Ovation last December the only time we could not do it (or be on the aft portion of deck 5 at all) was when they were holding private events in the evening. I recall two.

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We have done over 40 cruises on the big ships but are interested in trying the smaller ones especially on some itineraries around the US like Alaska and the Northeast.  While we would miss the evening entertainment we did try Viking river cruises and found that we really liked the attention, atmosphere and ship guests.  The only thing we didn’t like was the fact that the whole ship went to bed by 10:00.  While we are not night owls,  or like to party, we are used to a little more activity until at least 11pm.  

 

What is there to do in the evening?  A lecture would put me to sleep. Is there music, dancing? What time is dinner usually? Are there only tables for 2 if you’re traveling as a couple?  We actually enjoy meeting others when we cruise although I know some people hate being seated with strangers.  Are any excursions included?  And although it says tips are included, are they really not expected?

 

 

 

 

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